How to draw anime chibis – general features

If you’re familiar with the world of digital art or anime, you must’ve seen many of those big-headed, small-bodied characters with large eyes that overflows with cuteness. Those are known commonly as ‘chibis’. It is a Japanese slang word for short or small, used to describe someone who’s short and chubby, in a cute way.

In this post, I will be talking about the different body proportions one can use when drawing chibis, some common features on chibis and some different styles used when drawing a chibi to help you better understand what makes a chibi so adorable looking and help you draw your very own chibi!

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Different chibi drawing styles

Have a simple search on chibi on google or Pinterest and you will find pages and pages of kawaii chibi drawings to feast your eyes upon. You will notice that there are different styles of drawing. Some people like to draw or colour with more details while some draw or colour in a very simplified style. There’s no right or wrong style to draw a chibi in so you can just try different styles out and find out what style you enjoy the most.

Below are some examples of chibis drawn in different styles that I found on pinterest for illustration.

This is a more detailed style

This style has simpler colouring

This style has simpler colouring and drawing

Body proportions on a chibi

One of the main features of chibis is the head to body ratio. When I talk about head to body ratio, it means the ratio of the height of the head to the rest of the body. Head to body ratio of 1:1 means that the head has the same height as the body. Some common head to body ratio: 1 to 1, 1 to 2, 1 to 3. In general, the bigger the head, the cuter the chibi. I usually draw chibis with 1 to 1 head to body ratio, but there are also other ratios where the body ratio is slightly larger.

Below are some examples.The general rule is that the bigger the head the cuter it’ll look.

1 to 1 ratio

1 to 1.5 ratio

1 to 3 ratio

Neck on a chibi

The neck is generally drawn very small and thin on a chibi, sometimes they’re not drawn at all or just barely visible. One thing to note is that the neck can get longer or more visible if your head to body ratio is bigger.

Facial features on a chibi

Eyes

As you might have noticed in the previous images, big eyes are an important part of a chibi, it is a crucial feature for a cute chibi drawing.

In normal drawings, eyes are roughly placed around the center of the head. However, on chibis, eyes are placed lower which results in cuteness.

Nose

Nose on a chibi is usually just a tiny dot on the face so nothing complicated about that.

Mouth

Mouths are usually also very small on a chibi too, however, if the mouth is open, you can draw them larger or smaller depending on your preferences.

Chin

Chibis have no chins, at least not sharp ones. They are usually very rounded for cuteness, however, some does have a slightly sharper turn at the chin, but compared to how usual anime characters are drawn, the chin is a lot more rounded.

Here’s my pinterest board on various chibi drawings, feel free to browse through it:

Hands and feet on a chibi

Hand styles

There are many ways hands can be drawn on a chibi: the normal 5 fingers, just a thumb, or simply no fingers at all. Which one to use all depends on your own liking.

Feet style

For drawing feet, usually they will have shoes on, you can draw the shoes with more detail or simplify it down.

Body style

There are 2 styles for drawing the chibi body that I know of. You can draw them as you would like a normal animal drawing which is more detailed, or you can draw with simpler ‘blobs’ of shape that forms the shape of a body.

Below are some examples of chibis drawn in my style. I like to use 1:1 body to head ratio, I like more detailed colouring. For hands I sometimes draw all the fingers and sometimes only the thumb, depending on the pose. I’m still experimenting with different styles to make them look even cuter!

Above are some of the normally seen ways of drawing different parts of a chibi. I hope you’ve learnt something new from it and are ready to start creating your very own adorably cute chibi!

If you’re interested, I have chibi drawing commissions available here. I can draw chibi versions of a friend or family member, I can also draw chibi versions of characters or even your own original character!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and has found it useful. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question down below. If you purchase anything through the affiliate links that I’ve provided, I’ll get a small amount of commission (at no extra cost to you!) which helps me continue writing art-related blog posts and tutorials like this one.

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